Oh boy, get your tissues ready for this story. This is one truly amazing adoption story that had God’s fingerprints all over it. I love all the adoptions I photograph, I really do. But this one was particularly special for me because this was family. My husband and the Daddy of this story, Stephen, are cousins. So our families and extended families have a lot of great history together. One day a few years ago, Vanessa shared with me that they clearly felt the Lord’s calling to foster-adopt. They then began the long and arduous process to become a licensed foster home. Throughout this time they had several sweet yet hurting babies come into their home. They cared for them, unselfishly loved them, nurtured them back to health, healed their hearts, and fed their souls. But as it often does, the time came for these children to either be reunited with their parents or placed for adoption with family members. As wonderful as this is, it was also heartbreaking for the Bauer’s. You see, this is the life of the foster parents. Many hope to adopt eventually, but the journey often includes children who do not become part of their forever family.
And then they met a little sweet, charming, and vivacious toddler Amaziah. He was welcomed into their home and hearts immediately. As many cases in foster care are, Amaziah’s was complicated. I can recall many, many conversations with Vanessa where she and I swapped foster/ adopt stories, discussed the progress on each of our fostering situations, and laughed about the challenges of being a Mom. As soon as it appeared the case was going in their favor and Amaziah would become adoptable to them, a biological family member stepped up and showed interest in raising this beloved boy. In the foster care world, it is often a favorable choice for children to be placed with biological family when at all possible. It became an emotional battle for both sides, with caseworkers, legal workers, and a lot of family and friends with vested interest. Just when hope to adopt Amaziah seemed to fade, the Bauer’s found an attorney willing to fight for them. And fight she did. It really became a time where everyone emotionally involved in Amaziah’s case, had to take an honest step back and decide what was truly best for his long term well-being. Fortunately, some very close biological family members agreed that it was truly in Amaziah’s best interest to stay with his family- the Bauer’s. And after all, who could sleep at night knowing they took him away from all his chickens? With an immensely grateful heart, the Bauer’s were able to finally schedule a court hearing for Amaziah’s adoption. And what an amazing court hearing it was! It happened to be the same day as Amaziah’s 3rd birthday. How incredible is that? Now that sweet, charming boy did not disappoint at his adoption. He was such a hoot and kept the Judge and the rest of us thoroughly entertained. I have never seen so many people at an adoption to show their love and support. That courtroom was full of people wearing t-shirts labeled “Amazia’s Tribe.” It was such a blessed day that everyone will remember for a lifetime.
The festivities continued that evening with a dinner to celebrate the adoption. So many family and friends were there. One thing that was particularly touching and unique about this adoption and celebration was that the former foster parents and their families were present. Also, the biological grandmother of Amaziah was present at the adoption to show her full support. Amaziah’s biological cousins and grandmother attended his birthday party the next day as well. It was such a great weekend to celebrate such a loved little boy. Amaziah, I hope you always know how much you are loved and that God has had his hand on you this entire time and will never let you go.